Posted by Brad on June 10, 2006 at 11:00:28:
In Reply to: Photozella-1 Preliminary Report posted by Nomad on June 07, 2006 at 09:57:05:
First, I applaud Coccozell and all of your efforts in this endeavor. I've hosted similar events and have learned that before the event you may estimate the amount of effort and work to be at a given some level, but the reality shows that it is often several times more.
My experience was hosting large clothed female/naked male parties at places like Panther Beach. We had web sites, advertized, and had sent personal email invitations to thousands of people. Literally hundreds had committed to coming. Some of these I met in person, had lunch or dinner with many of the ladies, talked on the phone with some and they chatted it up saying how excited they were and they they couldn't wait while offering to bring a bevy of girlfriends.
But on the day of the event, about 30% that had committed actually showed with a much lower percentage of women showing than men. The Internet wannabes, that is, those that shoot emails, make promises etc., had the highest ratio of no shows. Moral of the story - you can't put much expectation in Internet wannabes actually following through on promises. *Most* of the time they weren't real, particularly if they will have to travel more than, say, 2 hours to the event. And if they say they are coming from, say, Chicago or NY, forget it.
I also host industry events in my business. Having worked with caterers and hotels, the rule of thumb they use is that if it is a paid/ticketed event where advance seats are sold, you can expect about 15% no shows (I believe it to be closer to 25%). However, from my personal experience, if it is a freeby event (ergo, say a hosted lunch for a trade association), I have found about 50% will typically not show after they had previously RSVP'd.
Finally, I think you may be missing an opptortunity by staggering your event between others insofar as dates go. The Folsom Street Fair is Sunday, Sept. 24, 2006. The previous Saturday, Sept. 23, is open. A lot of the folks that might come into town to experience the FSF might also be interested in coming to Photozella the previous day (two birds with one camera); however, they may not be interested in making two separate trips on two separate weekends (I'd fall in that category). There might even be a way to connect to the energy of the FSF event in some way.
Just my humble opinion...
: The idea to create an event like Photozella had been kicking around for some time but no one knew quite what form it should take and how to do it. The idea was to somehow create a time and place where people could be comfortably nude and photograph each other within a celebratory atmosphere. Good photography would be encouraged both candid and posed with an emphasis on fun, casual activities promoting healthy body attitudes and awareness.
: I do a lot of work for Coccozella and convinced them to put up some money to get Photozella going. My idea was to select a beautiful beach near San Francisco and solicit participants from the area to attend. Over several months I built up a list of interested parties, close to 100 people with a 50/50 ratio male/female, with many pro photographers and models in the mix. A photo contest with close to $4000 in prizes for both photographers and photo subjects was offered and a few other perks. Using a mailing list I kept everyone informed of the details of the event as it approached. It was set for Monday May 22.
: The result was that only a few people attended.
: Are you surprised? I sure was. Prior to the event most of these people emailed me back many times confirming their interest, expressing their enthusiasm, offering activities they were going to lead, etc, etc. I could not understand why they did not show up. I had spend months conversing with some of these folks. They seemed totally committed.
: The few of us that were there had a very nice time. Low key, but nice. And the result is actually quite a few images, which were mostly shot by yours truly. You will also see some photos by Scalawag and Kinknkind. I would like to thank Heidi and Karma for being the brave sole women to come out, and also Midnight and Cisco for making it a pleasant social gathering.
: So what happened?
: Well, I did an email survey and most people responded and here are the reasons that came to light, in what I think is the order of importance:
: 1) Weather uncertainty and date shifting turned people off. In the week prior to the event the long range weather forecast for the coast near Santa Cruz did not look good and as the days went by, the Tuesday looked like it would be much better than Monday so I sent out an email asking people if Tuesday would be okay. Many said it would be okay. So I declared that both Monday and Tuesday would be event days since I knew many people had made special arrangements to make Monday free. Then over the weekend the forcast for Monday looked better, so I emailed again making sure everyone knew both days would be available. Later, in the survey, some people felt that by diluting things over 2 days this made attendance no longer worthwhile and in combination with heavy rain on the Sunday in San Francisco the sense was that it was a wash-out. In actual fact the Monday and Tuesday could not have been better on the beach. It was warm with a clear sky. That was the last time I will ever give much notice to weather forecasts.
: 2) The distance to the chosen beach was just a bit too far. I had said from the beginning that it would be within a one hour drive of San Francisco. When I scouted the beaches I really fell in love with Panther Beach, which is 1.5 hours drive. The long drive in combination with weather uncertainties made a lot of people feel not quite motivated enough to follow through. With the cost of gas climbing, that was also a factor.
: 3) Setting the event on a Monday did not help make it easy to attend. Many people committed to coming, thinking they could juggle their schedule to free up the Monday but in the end could not do it. My reason for not doing it on the weekend was to avoid textile beachgoers, so we could have a relatively deserted beach to ourselves. I chose that Monday because it followed Bare to Breakers on Sunday and I figured a lot of visiting nudists attending that would like to also like to attend Photozella; I don't think this helped at all. And it turned out that there were really not that many more people on the beach on the weekend so I could have set it on the Saturday originally and it would have been okay.
: 4) Quite a few people wrote to say that they really wanted to attend and would have been there but something personal came up that prevented them from attending. They expressed interest in knowing when the next Photozella was happening.
: So, what are the lessons? What should we do for the next Photozella?
: 1) May 22 was a little early in the season for that coastline for any kind of dependible weather. I am told that it gets very nice and stable in late summer and early fall.
: 2) Find an event location closer to San Francisco so that more people from that population base will be inclined to go.
: 3) Set the date on a weekend so that people's work schedules are not affected.
: My current inclination is to set the date for Photozella-2 on Saturday September 30, 2006 and I will find a place much closer to San Francisco. The weekend before is Folsom Street Fair and the weekend after is Columbus Day. And it is long enough after Labor Day weekend (and Burning Man etc) for people to be ready for another outing.
: Photo galleries from Photozella-1 and a detailed plan for Photozella-2 will be coming soon. If you wish to apply to attend, got to www.photozella.com and submit the form.
: Feel free to post your ideas and comments.
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